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Everyone in business is talking about automation, especially with COVID-19 going on at the moment. However, there’s so much information regarding automation out there that it can seem overwhelming. This is why we’ve taken you on the Automation journey over the past few weeks, to break it down into understandable pieces.
In our first article, we discussed what automation is and how it works for various businesses and in particular, how it can work for you. However, the automation journey is fraught with perils. Ernst and Young said over 50% of automation implementations fail, and Rolabotic found that it was even higher at 70%.
Starting any journey requires preparation, and how companies prepare is by mapping their processes. They usually do this by watching and learning from the actions that each employee makes. Doing this manual process discovery has directly led to this high failure rate of automation implementations said a recent survey of CIOs from CIO Dive, who picked complex and not well mapped processes for pilots.
A more comprehensive and accurate way of doing this is by using process discovery tools, so AI is actually learning behind the scenes, understanding more than a human ever could, gathering more information in real-time and never needing a break. Any organization using this will be ready to automate quicker and know exactly what should be automated so that they can move certain processes to automation in an efficient manner.
So Much Data, So Little Time
In Gathering the Data, Part 2 of the Automation Journey, we talked about data. Specifically, data in businesses and why it is so important. It’s clear that there is only going to be more data, in fact, the International Data Corporation estimates that the Global Datasphere will grow from 33ZB in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025. That means that in five years time, there’ll be more than five times more data out there. To move forward in business, you need to gather, understand that data and know what to do with it.
In order to map processes for automation, data must be gathered, stored and analyzed. Systems that gather data for process mapping, free your employees to do higher-value tasks as the tracking systems perform those tasks once done by humans more effectively.
What do Companies Need to Do to Plan For the Future?
In Part 3, we examined Process Discovery and how it can be done with AI. In planning for the future, companies are trying to get an overall view of their processes and what can be automated. To date, much of this has been done by hiring someone to examine processes and collect data.
Humans can’t watch more than one thing at a time and they may make errors when collecting or communicating what they’ve learned. They need to take lunch breaks (if you’re fair) and days off. A machine can continuously see, continuously learn and watch more than one thing at a time. Plus, it causes no disturbance to your workers. It becomes clear that a system is better suited for this task.
Don’t automate the inefficiencies
Along with gathering and analyzing data, Intelligent Process Discovery shows where savings can be made and where other processes need to be refined, to save even more money.
Clean Up Your Processes: The Key to Efficient Automation talked about dirty processes and standardization. Many organizations have data flowing in from a multitude of sources. Employees may all have slightly different approaches to doing things and sometimes interpret the “rules” for carrying out a process differently. The Lab, management consultancy firm, discovered that 40% of white collar worker activity is wasted, due to a lack of standardization in their organization.
Once again, it is shown how Intelligent Process Discovery can actively assist an organization in cleaning up their processes.
Automation Augments Work, It Doesn’t Replace Workers
One of the big fears that many workers have is that automation will replace them. This simply isn’t the case. As the workplace evolves, so do the roles that people play at work. When processes are automated, employees are applied to higher-value tasks and the business becomes more efficient overall.
In Part 5 (link to be added when it is up), it was time to discuss RPA and automation. What is RPA? It stands for Robotic Process Automation and refers to software (a robot) that can be easily programmed to do tasks that humans have carried out previously. RPA has already been adopted by thousands of companies; think of an auto-generated email response – that’s RPA. Many RPA tools are easy to set up, which differs from automation.
As technology and the world of work progress, automation tools are coming to market all the time. Sites that weren’t built to work together can now be integrated by installing simple apps. Now, you don’t need to hire a coding expert to build tools for your business, because companies, such as OfficeAutomata, have tools that can work for you.
If humans are worried that they’ll be replaced, then they have misunderstood the benefits of automating mundane tasks. AI needs humans in order to teach it to do the things that they don’t want to do anymore. AI is learning from human behaviour, in order to improve work. In fact, AI is expected to boost small businesses even further over the next few years. So, AI is actually making work more interesting for humans and allowing them time to engage with more creative parts of their job.
Automation can be a complicated endeavour, but hopefully, this series helped to educate and make things easier for you. As a company who is at the forefront of mapping and optimizing processes, we are enabling companies to make smarter decisions and understand more about their own processes, so that automation can make a profound difference to their operations.
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